An agreement approved by the Council Bluffs Community School District’s Board of Education Tuesday evening indicates that Menards Inc. plans to acquire approximately 48 acres of land that currently houses the Mall of the Bluffs, demolish the enclosed mall and some related structures and build a new Menards home improvement center on the site.
Jeff Abbott, promotions manager and spokesperson for Menards said he had no information on the proposed project.
He asked that questions concerning the letter of agreement with the school district and the building project be emailed to his office. Menards had not responded to those questions as of press time.
Drew Snyder, founder of Woodsonia Real Estate Inc. of Omaha, which lists Menards as a client, did not return calls seeking information on the project.
The agreement with Menard Inc. approved by the school board Tuesday sets terms for the two parties if Menard proceeds with plans to demolish part of Mall of the Bluffs and build a new home improvement store on the site.
Superintendent Vickie Murillo said she is comfortable that safeguards included in the agreement would keep Madison Campus students and staff safe.
“The safety of our students is our No. 1 priority,” she said. “On that component, we are confident that (the agreement) will protect the safety of our students, if any remodeling or construction is done.”
The agreement specifies that Menard will set up fencing and/or barriers along the western and southern edges of the school district property before starting any demolition work. These will remain in place “until construction of the Menards store is complete,” it states. It further states that Menard will follow “prevailing industry safety standards” for the safety of everyone who has access to the school.
“Everything we looked at was around safety,” Murillo said. “We want to be sure (students are) safe when they come to school and when they go home.”
From a functional standpoint, “Menard will coordinate with the district for any relocation of the utilities serving the district property that is necessary to complete the redevelopment of the project site,” and will try to make sure the school can continue operating throughout the project, the agreement states. It will provide at least 14 days’ notice of any interference with the school’s operation, except in emergency situations, and as long as the building is operating as a school, will limit disruptions in operation to the period between June 1 and Sept. 1.
“There could be some noise” during demolition and construction, Murillo said. She believes Menard will keep demolition and construction “as far away from the building as possible for as long as possible.”
The agreement states that existing access drives between the district property and Bennett Avenue and Mall Drive, including from delivery areas, will remain open throughout the project, except for temporary closures for repairs or replacement.
Menard will “curb the property line” that separates the district and Menards lots, it adds.
The clear boundaries should keep construction equipment out of the district’s parking area, Murillo said.
“We know that won’t be in the area where any of our buses or any of our parents drop off or pick up during school hours,” she said.